2021 Nathalie Richez, Haut Côte-de Beaune Blanc
2021 Nathalie Richez, Haut Côte-de Beaune Blanc

2021 Nathalie Richez, Haut Côte-de Beaune Blanc

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

2021 Nathalie Richez, Haut Côte-de Beaune Blanc

 Nathalie Richez was very fortunate, or I might argue intuitive and prescient, when she acquired a small plot of Chardonnay vines that sits right at the border of the Saint-Aubin appellation delineation. Fortunate/prescient because this little parcel faces west, on the slope that sits behind some of the most famous vineyards in the world (looking at you, Le Montrachet), and because of this exposition it is a couple degrees cooler in the summer. Historically this was a liability as the grapes struggled to ripen every year, but now it is an asset, and it allows Nathalie to craft a super fresh, snappy, and mineral laden white Burgundy that has depth and complexity without any hint of flabby over-ripeness. 

Starting from scratch, without any inherited vines or family connections, is a very tough way to get into the grape growing and winemaking business, but it is especially and incredibly difficult in Burgundy. Outrageously high land prices and centuries of family inheritances splitting and then splitting again make gaining a foothold here very challenging, and establishing your own domaine can feel like winning the lottery, but that is exactly what Nathalie Richez has accomplished. In 2011 she set up her winery and home in the village of Chagny, at the southern tip of the Côte de Beaune, bordering the Côte Chalonnaise, and slowly began acquiring micro plots of vines. Piece by piece she has built her tiny estate into 12 hectares of vines, all of which she farms without the use of chemicals, pesticides or herbicides (though she does not seek organic certification). 

Nathalie’s winemaking style is traditional and transparent. She ferments with native yeasts, uses very low toast barrels, and mostly used ones, and adds small amounts of sulfur only when malolactic fermentations have finished. Everything is in the pursuit of elegant, terroir expressive wines. Her love of Burgundy and its long history of winemaking is evident in every bottle, and yet these wines also seem very of the current moment–energetic, vibrant, and gloriously unadorned. 

That energy and precision has softened just a touch after a couple years of bottle age, and this Chardonnay is now in peak drinking form. Serve cool, around 50 degrees, in a nice Burgundy stem and you will be greeted almost immediately by classic notes of green apple, just-ripe pear, lemon zest, raw almond, beeswax, and crushed rocks. The medium-lightweight body has excellent texture and finishes with a boatload of saline minerals. Indeed the wet rocks and sea salt here are crying out for oysters on the half shell, though I would also love this with a heaping pile of fish and chips. It’s a refreshing and elegantly balanced introduction to what I’m sure is a very bright future for Nathalie Richez. 


2021 Nathalie Richez, Haut Côte-de Beaune Blanc

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